The second half of IPL 2021 stands a chance of missing the services of a few key foreign players, but Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Rajeev Shukla confirmed the league will go ahead regardless.
The remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 will tentatively be held from September 17 to October 10 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, with a few boards keen to keep their players fresh for the T20 World Cup in October, certain franchises might take a beating.
Shukla, though, assured that the IPL edition will be completed with the available players and that the franchises would also be allowed to rope in replacements.
“We have discussed that [foreign players] issue also. Our main focus is on completing this edition of the IPL. It should not be left halfway through. So, whichever foreign players are available is fine. Whoever is not available, it is not going to stop us from hosting the tournament," he said.
“The Indian players are there, foreign players are there, but few foreign players will not be available. As I said, we have to complete our tournament. So the franchises will definitely look for other players. Whoever is available, we are going to have the tournament with them. That’s our policy,” Rajeev Shukla told Khaleej Times.
As of now, there are doubts over the participation of players from England and Australia. While Joe Root’s men are slated to play two T20Is in Pakistan on October 14 and 15, Cricket Australia (CA) might just want to manage their players’ workload ahead of the World Cup and Ashes at the end of the year.
Having spectators in remaining IPL 2021 games up to UAE authorities
Rajeev Shukla is currently in the UAE for a meeting with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and government authorities on the logistics of staging the remaining matches of IPL 2021. He will be joined by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel.
“I am already here. Now a team of office-bearers, president, secretary and the IPL chairman will be coming here in a couple of days. We will be having discussions with the cricket board here and the other authorities. And accordingly the schedule will be made, so the tournament happens in a very smooth manner as it happened here last year,” Shukla said.
The trio will also participate in the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting on June 1. Reports suggest the BCCI will seek more time before finalising the venue for the T20 World Cup, originally scheduled to be held in India from October 18 to November 15.
There were a few reports claiming that the BCCI was mulling to conduct the second phase of IPL 2021 in England, where the Indian team will be engaged in a five-Test series until September 14. Shukla hinted that the UAE was eventually chosen because of possible inclement weather in the UK. The local authorities, however, will take a call on allowing spectators in the stands.
“The only issue about the spectators, whether they will allow the spectators or not. So we will talk to them about that. We will go by whatever UAE authorities decide. If they say it’s with spectators, and certain percentage of spectators, we are fine. Or if they say without spectators, that is also fine with us," he said.
“They are all very happy. From day one, they have been backing the UAE. There were some media reports about England [hosting the remaining matches], but there’s a weather problem in England where it rains a lot,” Shukla, who held the post of IPL chairman, concluded.
IPL 2021 was indefinitely suspended with immediate effect on May 4 after rising Covid-19 cases in the team bio-bubbles along with inconclusive reports of several groundsmen contracting the virus.
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